ILO releases report on forced labor in Thailand

Published on
April 18, 2017

The International Labour Office has released a report critical of Thailand’s handling of migrant laborers in its seafood industry’s workforce, but noted the country’s recent efforts at improvement.

The ILO, which adjudicates the Forced Labour Convention of 1930, of which Thailand is a signatory, released the report on 28 March, 2017. It details numerous abuses of migrant workers in the Thai fisheries sector, specifically detailing failures caused by Thailand’s “weak” legislative and regulatory framework, “deceptive and coercive” recruitment practices, questionable employment practices and inadequate working and living conditions, the country’s lack of an effective complaints mechanism, and the absence of penalties for those who break the law.

The report also details Thailand’s recent actions to combat the use of forced labor and coercive recruitment practices. It notes the Thai government’s passage of anti-trafficking and worker protection laws and an ordinance upping penalties on companies and individuals found guilty of human trafficking in its commercial fishing industry. The ILO also noted the Thai government’s increased efforts at policing and prosecuting such crimes.

Thailand's seafood industry is worth more than USD 5.5 billion (EUR 5.2 billion) and employs more than 800,000 people. An estimated 90 percent of workers on Thailand’s fishing boats are migrants. 

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